Pro-arena demonstrators made sure they were outside city hall waiting when the Sacramento Taxpayers Opposed to Pork (S.T.O.P.) arrived with their 35,000 arena vote signatures.
They say the push to put the arena to a vote is really a ruse from people from outside the city, who reportedly put up 94 percent of the money for the signature drive.
“When only six percent of your money comes from the city, it’s not about a vote of the residents. This is about taking something away we have and giving to someone else,” Joshua Wood, DowntownArena.org spokesman, said.
Mayor Kevin Johnson used the opportunity to reiterate why he thinks the proposed downtown sports and entertainment complex is so important.
“We’re not going to allow anybody from the outside kill jobs in Sacramento. We’re going to do everything we can to make good on the 4-thousand jobs. These are people’s lives at stake,” Johnson said.
But arena opponents say the arena itself is being pushed by someone outside Sacramento – namely, the National Basketball Association.
“It’s the same playbook they do in every town. That is, ‘build us a new arena or we’ll move out,’” S.T.O.P. President Julian Camacho said.
Arena opponents say the city shouldn’t feel rushed for fear of the NBA taking away the Sacramento Kings. The league has given Sacramento until 2017 to have the new facility, or they will assume control of the team.
“If they can’t wait for the people to vote, then they can take their arena and they can go out of town,” Camacho said.
If enough signatures are verified by the city clerk, the issue will head to the June ballot.